Saturday, August 25, 2018

Disturbing the Peace

Read Luke 16

We have talked for some time now about God’s peace and living in God’s peace and knowing God’s peace even when the world is a mess.  We can have peace in the worst of circumstances.

We will have trouble in the world.  We can enjoy God’s peace in spite of and in the midst of that trouble.  We are growing in God’s grace and learning to live in his peace.

For us, peace is part of an abundant life

For some, peace is a part of existential tribulation.  For some, peace causes turmoil in the here and now. 

Whoa!  Hold your holy horses preacher!  How can peace bring turmoil and tribulation?

Many have made peace with the world.  The world is their friend.  The peace that they know is not the peace that our Lord gave us. 

If you have heard me preach for a few months or many years, you know that I don’t really have a hellfire and damnation sermon.  I could preach one, but it would be contrary to the ordination given to me.  I am educated enough to give you a Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God message and it would have fidelity with Jonathan Edward’s message by the same name.  It’s not that I don’t know how to give one. 

It is that they are not effective and use one of the primary tools of the enemy—fear.  People who come to profess their faith in Jesus through fear often are only professing their fear of hell.  Even the demons are not looking forward to that experience.

I am not talking about the fear of the Lord.  That’s a good thing and the starting blocks for greater things.  I am talking about coming to Jesus out of the fear of hell.  That’s the road most traveled in too many places and the road that ends before reaching discipleship.

And there are many who are not blind but still live by the rules of the world.  They may have even professed their faith in Jesus but do not trust him with their lives.  They believe but don’t trust

These are people whom we know.  These are people whom we help.  These are people who may pray every day but have not trusted the Lord with anything important for a single day.

These are people that want the salvation of the Lord and likely have received it.  Only the Lord knows if they indeed professed their faith—that they professed aloud that Jesus is Lord and believe with their hearts that God raised him from the dead.

They want their salvation from the Lord, but they seek their peace in the world.  We talked before about Jesus bringing a sword.  We have entered the third millennium since the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  We are approaching the beginning of the third millennia since he ascended into heaven and the world has made a lot of friends. 

I don’t know the day and the hour but I suspect the axe is at the root of the tree.  Surely the time is near when God’s Spirit will be poured out.  Surely we who follow Jesus must make the most of every opportunity

Many do not know salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ but many others have professed their faith; yet both groups have united themselves to the world.  Both groups are friends of the world.  They seek their peace from the world.

Some have become friends of the world over time.  I have used this analogy for years.  It’s not my own.  It was around for decades before I employed it.  Leadership gurus, management analysists, and paradigm pioneers use it still today, as will your preacher.

Drop a frog into a pot of boiling water.  It jumps out of course.  But if you put another frog—it probably wouldn't be the same frog.  If you get thrown into a boiling pot once, you're not going to get caught by these crazy management analysts again.  If you put another frog into room temperature water, it will sit contently as you heat up the water one degree a minute until the frog boils to death. 

There are many Christians in this world boiling to death one degree at a time.  They are making peace with the world.  They are seeking the world’s peace.  They are vested in the world’s peace.

Many have received the salvation of the Lord but their response is to sin and sin profusely.  What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound even more?

Paul was asking a rhetorical question, but he must have thought that some might take him up on this as a challenge, so he answered his own question with a resounding, “No!”

Have you seen the posts that pick on one group and sarcastically ask us to quit saying, “Could they get any more stupid?  They are taking it as a challenge.” 

It seems that some people today are doing the same with becoming a friend of the world.  We died with Christ.  We come to life in Christ.  We belong to Christ.  Why would we unite ourselves with the world when we belong to Christ?

The answer is that most of us do not, but we know so many who do.  Are we content to leave them in the peace of the world?

If the answer is no, how do we keep them from boiling to death?

The world is becoming busier by the minute.  The world demands more and more of you.  The psalmist proclaims, “Be still and know that I am God.”

The world says, “You don’t have time for that” as it turns up the temperature by another degree.

I look at parents today.  Sports take up big chunks of life.  You can’t not play.  You have to play every chance you get, or you kids will be left behind.

I look at technology today.  You can’t not be connected.  You can’t not play video games.  You can’t not miss a day checking posts.

I look at addiction today.  It seems like it used to just be alcohol.  Then it was alcohol and drugs.  Then it was pornography.  Then it was tobacco.  Then it was video games. 

I look at today’s world and see so many things and events and substances that offer friendship to us.  It’s not real friendshipThe world has no real friendship to give.

So many people will go through this life and will have known little else than busyness.  The sum total of their lives will be defined in one word:  busy.

Now, if that is us, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  When we feel the peace of the Lord slipping away, we have the presence of mind to ask, “Am I becoming a friend of the world?”

We should have the efficacy to make the desired changes.  That is, we should know what to do and have the desire, initiative, and courage to do it.

What about those who have tied the knot with the world?  How do we reach them?  Do we try to scare the hell out of them, so they have peace?

What do we who believe in Christ, are doing our best to trust in the Lord, are working hard to be his disciples, and who enjoy the peace of the Lord to do?  What are we to do?

We could say, “I’m good.  Good luck buddy.”

We could throw a Bible at them and say, “Better get after it.”

We could sling some Bible verses at them.  That always works. 

We could bring them to worship and they could hear Tom preach.  That’s guaranteed to fix them!

What are we who have peace to do with those whom we know have made peace with the world?

We should do the very thing our Lord and Savior did.  What’s that?  Disturb the peace!

For all the Kangaroo Courts that Jesus went through before his execution, none could prove any charge against him.  Had the self-righteous prosecutors thought about it, they could have come up with the perfect charge:  Disturbing the Peace.

By his own words, he did not come to bring peace but a sword.  Jesus came to disturb the peace.  If you were friends with and at peace with the world, your world was about to be turned upside down, at least from your perspective.

Jesus came to give people a chance to get right-side up, but to do that he disturbed the peace that they had with the world.

So how should we disturb the peace?  Should we start making signs and working on ridiculous chants?  No!

We must shine as a light before people.  We put our very lives on display and the light that shines from us is love, hope, and peace.  There are other attributes, but for now let’s focus on peace.

Do you remember the psalm-like words of Isaiah?

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

When our minds are steadfast in the Lord, when our thoughts always have the Lord first, when our thinking comes from the mind of Christ and not our own understanding, then we have peace.

We are not screaming at people.  We are not constantly reminding people that they are going to hell.  We are living a life of love and of hope and of peace in spite of this world’s demands, and some people who have become good friends with the world and its ways see this and wonder.

Wonder what?

How are these people at peace in the middle of chaos?

How are these people generous when they make less than I do, and I am stressed over money all the time?

Just what do these people have that I don’t?

That’s where the conversation begins.  That’s where in conversational exchange and gentle words we reveal the love and hope and peace that we know.

That’s when we remind people that we are friends of God—the one true God who has loves us with an everlasting love—and not friends of the world.  We stand firm.  We don’t waffle.  This is who we are, and we are not interested in being a friend of the world.

We tell our neighbors that we will be their friend but not a friend of the world.  We remind them that being their friend might disturb the peace that they have with the world.  Realize that we might not get invited to all of the birthday parties anymore.

When people wonder what’s up with us, that’s when we humbly explain that while we have financial challenges, we are at peace because we are master of our money.  We are master in this relationship.

That’s when we take a risk and become a bit vulnerable and let these friends of the world know that we too face similar challenges, but we have learned to trust in the Lord and be a part of a mutual support network known as the body of Christ, and we have received his peace.

That’s when we tell them face-to-face—remember that speaking the truth in love is an indicator of our maturity—that our prayer for them might not be their prayer for themselves.  We are praying that their peace with the world is shaken beyond belief.

We look them in the eye and tell them that we have come to disturb the peace they have with this world and help them find true peace in Christ Jesus.  We are not condescending.  We are not judgmental.  We are commissioned to make disciples.

We are not commissioned to save people.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit, but we are commissioned to take the gospel to the world, make disciples, and teach others what Jesus taught us.

So many in this world have professed their faith at some point in their lives but have not taken a single step in discipleship.  Instead of following Jesus wherever he leads and receiving his peace, not because of our circumstances but because of our faithfulness to him, they have made peace with the world.

Do you remember God’s instructions to his people as they prepared themselves for war while in the wilderness?  One day they would enter the land promised to them.  They might negotiate peace with cities outside of the Promised Land, but once they were claiming this land, they were to leave no breathing thing.

This sounds harsh, but God is a jealous God and any ungodly people still left in the land would corrupt his own people and steer them away from the laws that he gave them.

Today, we must not be a friend of the world if Jesus is our Savior and our Lord.  Consider these simple dichotomies.

Friend of the world or friend of God?
Make peace with the world or receive God’s peace?
Trust in the world or trust in the Lord?

Not everyone will be happy with us speaking the truth.  Many only want to hear what they want to hear and have no problem omitting or redacting the truth.  Disturbing the peace is not the most direct route to acceptance in the world, but we are only temporary residents here.

Consider Gideon.  God called him to tear down the altar to Baal and destroy the Asherah poles.  He did and the people wanted him to pay for it.  So the people came to Gideon’s father and demanded that he turn over his son so that he could be put to death for offending Baal.

Joash, Gideon’s father told the people that if Baal is indeed a god, then he can take care of this himself.  From that point on, Gideon was known as Jerub-Baal, meaning let Baal contend with him.

Are we afraid today that we will offend Baal if we destroy his altars and smash the Asherah poles of our day?  Exactly who are we afraid of offending with the truth?

We are not talking about pulling down statues as seems to be the fad these days.  We are talking about a different sort of confrontation. We take down false arguments.  We speak the truth.  We lead people to see a house build on sand that needs to be firmly affixed to solid rock.

The truth is that you cannot be a friend of God and a friend of the world.  You are not going to enjoy God’s peace if you have made peace with the world.

You know that, but do your neighbors?  Isn’t time that we disturbed the peace?  Isn’t it time that we loved our neighbors enough to disturb the peace that they have made with the world.    


Our language must be so purposeful that it says as for me and my house we serve the Lord even when talking about the football game.

We must be thankful and full of hope even in our worst trials, so people know that our strength comes from the Lord. 

Let’s disturb the peace.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Peace and Trust

This is a psalm contained in the prophecy of Isaiah. We are considering the peace of God’s people and will draw upon Isaiah’s words, but first, consider the story in the psalm.

It is the story of God’s Chosen People.  They know that one day Jerusalem will be unassailable.  This will not be due to higher and thicker walls, but that the walls and parapets are not made of stone but of salvation.

It is a place where only the righteous may enter.  It stands in contrast to the wicked world which the Lord will lay low.  This city is anchored on the Rock which is the Lord.

Those who dwell in this city long for the ways of the Lord and live in his peace.

Those who know the Lord do not fear judgment but the wicked never seem to learn even when grace is extended to them.

The Lord’s zeal brings peace to those who seek him and destruction to those who resist grace and love wickedness.

God’s people know that their accomplishments came at the hand of the Lord. 

God’s people know that they have veered from God’s path.  They confess.

God’s people know that they were blessed to be a blessing; yet, they failed.

God’s people know that there will be a time of judgment that will come upon the earth that they must endure for a time for sin will be judged.

God’s people did not understand that while Isaiah did speak of the restoration of Jerusalem that followed the Babylonian Captivity that was about to befall them; he spoke also of a time in which we live today and the age to come.

Did you catch the part where God’s people knew they were blessed to be a blessing and they performed dismally at this?  These are the children of Abraham.  These people took pride in the fact that they were sons of Abraham; yet they missed the part about being blessed to be a blessing.

But they acknowledged that they blew it.  Despite this, these are people who know peace.

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

As we have navigated this year seeking the Lord’s direction on love, and love and action, and love and peace, I have proffered to you that trust in the Lord is action.  Today, I put before you that trust in the Lord brings us peace.

Look at the children of Israel.  They were God’s own people.  They were indeed sons of Abraham.  God gave them their identity.  He gave them the law.  He promised and delivered a land just for them. 

God gave his people a chance to do right by him or to make a mess of things.  Most of the time it was the latter.

When God’s people had taken possession of the land promised to them by God and Joshua was nearing the end of his days as leader of this chosen people, he put a challenge before all the people.

He said that they could follow any of the false gods that they knew in Egypt or in the lands they had just conquered, or they could follow the one true God.  It should not have been a difficult question.  These people saw enemy after enemy flee from the armies of God’s Chosen People.  They knew their victories came at the hand of the Lord.

Joshua challenged them further saying that for him and his household, they would serve the Lord.  It’s like, ok guys, here is the correct answer.

Of course, they all replied, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!”  Their testimony as to what the Lord had done followed so they were not just mimicking Joshua; however, Joshua challenged them again even though they gave the right answer.

Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

Joshua was right.  They couldn’t do it.  The people turned away from the one true God time and time again.  In Isaiah’s time, judgment would come upon God’s own people at the hands of the Babylonians, and other neighbors to the north.

Joshua was right that God would not forgive their rebellion and their sins.  God would condemn sin and rebellion and exact the death penalty for what his people had done.  That price was paid in his own blood.  That price was paid by the blood of Jesus.

Judgment of sin took place on a hill called Golgotha some two millennia ago.  But God’s people were not condemned. God’s people were the beneficiaries of what we call grace—unmerited forgiveness from God.  Sin was not overlooked by God.  It was judged and the penalty—the death penalty—exacted.  By his stripes we are healed.  By his blood we are forgiven.

That grace has been extended to us and to the world.  It is the greatest gift since the creation itself and many of you rejoice in it.  We have received the salvation of the Lord.

But have we received his peace?  Do we live in his peace

We are not so different from God’s Chosen People.  We know the Lord.  We know his ways.  We know what to do.  We know that we often miss the mark.  We do things that we knew not to do.  We do things that are governed by our own understanding and not the way of the Lord.

We who are saved from sin and death cheat ourselves out of the Lord’s peace when we continue to do things our own way.

There is a big step in faith between believe and trust.

Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved!  I believe that Jesus is God’s son.  I believe that he walked on this earth and lived as a man—enduring human trials.  I believe that he died and by his blood my sins were forgiven. 

I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.  I believe that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

I believe that Jesus did not leave us as orphans here on earth, that his Spirit—God’s own Spirit—was given to us when we professed Jesus is Lord.

I believe that God’s own Spirit is alive within me, but, I’m not ready to trust him yet.

There is a big step in faith between believe and trust.

And while we live between believe and trust, we miss out on a lot of peace.  Things still get to us.  The imperfection of the day frustrates us.  When our vision of how things should be or should go are not met, peace is elusive.

Speedbumps become mountains.  Weather becomes climate.  Seconds become hours.  Little things become trials. 

Perspective and proportion give way to hyperbole and drama.  The sky is falling!

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

The sky may indeed be falling, but for those who trust in the Lord; they will have peace.  Our circumstances will not steal our peace.

The wanderings of God’s Chosen People and our own meanderings into our own understanding attest to this.  We don’t always do the right things, but we trust God and his word.

If we confess, he is faithful and just to forgive.  Do we believe this, or do we trust in this?  I hope that your answer is yes and yes

I believe that God forgives.  Whew!  At least I am not going to hell.

I trust that God forgives. Hallelujah!  I can get right back into my race of faith!  I do this without having to make a stop at anxiety.  I can put my love into action and have peace.

I love Proverbs 3:5-6.  I would challenge you to find a sermon where I couldn’t work that Proverb into context.  Don’t spend too much time on that quest.  It will not produce any fruit.  It is sort of the king of trust within the scriptures and fits in just about anywhere.

But the message of trust goes far beyond that single quip of wisdom as the text for today’s message attests. Let’s understand more about belief and trust.

Belief brings us to salvation. Trust kicks off discipleship.
Belief brings us from death to life.  Trust puts the abundance into life.
Belief seems like the finish line to some.  Trust tells us we just left the starting blocks.
Belief brings affirmation.  Trust leads us to action.
Belief brings us joy.  Trust brings us to fulfillment.
Belief brings assurance.  Trust brings us to peace.

We must believe in Jesus, but we don’t enjoy the fruit that is waiting for us until we trust fully in the Lord.

This is not semantics.  This is not a minor difference in similar terms.  This is life and living.  How many people do you know who are alive but not living?

How often do you miss out on God’s peace?

How often do we know God can do something and we trust that God will do something?

There is nothing wrong with believing.  We need to believe in Jesus and cast out all doubts that the enemy throws our way.  We need to believe in Jesus and resist the old self that tells us to hedge our bets.

Then, we need to trust God and live trusting God and receive the peace that comes from trusting God.

Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Believe, trust, and live in the perfect peace of the Lord!


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Peace for Those Who Love Your Law

God gave his people the law for their own good.  They were his people but didn’t know diddly about living a life that pleased God.  They knew to fear God and made some offerings and worshiped him in some ways, but they didn’t really have an instruction manual.

God gave them one.  They were given 10 foundational commandments and another 603 instructions and decrees for various things, some coming with assigned punishment or compensation attached for transgressing. There were proverbs to provide wisdom on top of these directives.  Prophets brought additional messages that pointed his people back to the right living defined in the law.

God also made a way through offerings and sacrifices to be made right with him on a recurring basis.  We don’t understand this life of being made right with God through a sacrifice that we bring.  We’ve never lived this way.

In our relationship with God, he alone provided the sacrifice.  It was not something that had to be done again each year.  It was truly once and for all.  Jesus paid it all. 

We are ransomed, rescued, redeemed, revived, and restored to a good status with our Creator as if we had never sinned. We like it this way.  What a gift!

Our human nature may want to make ourselves right with God by what we do, but when we have eyes to see that we are only complete with God’s love and his grace, then we rejoice in the gift of life and life eternal that we know in Christ.

Last week, we thought about how out of sync we found ourselves more times than not.  We were out of sync with the world.  Things did not fall into place so many times.  We seemed to be swimming upstream again and again.

And that’s not always a bad thing.  It seems bad or inconvenient or just difficult when we are out of sync with our vision of our lives.  But what if that friction was caused not by being in sync with God and his way of doing things but by doing things our way?  We are not talking about persecution here, but peace.  What if our difficulties with this world were a part of God loving us?

Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.

If I am doing things God’s way why don’t I have this peace?  Why is there so much friction in my life.  It’s not that I am out of sync with the ways of the world, I also seem out of sync with the ways of God.  Where is my peace?

The psalmist declares that peace—great peace—rests upon those who love your law.  Do we love God’s laws?  Do we love his ways?

Or, do we want to know just how much we can get away with and still be saved?  Do we try not to read the Bible too closely, so we can—at least in our own minds—know that God agrees with the way we see things. 

Or, maybe we do read God’s word and know that we should do things his way. Do we try to be compliant with God’s ways or do we really embrace them?  Do we love the ways of our Lord?

Perhaps the friction that we experience in our lives comes more from within than from around us.  The world is always going to be the world.  That should not surprise us.

But do we love our neighbor because we are commanded to and don’t want to anger the God who is love?  Or, do we love our neighbor because we love God and love his ways?

Do we love the ways of our Lord?

It’s easy to just say yes, but he has called us to do many things that don’t make sense to our carnal minds and human desires.

Love your neighbor.  I can get into that.

Love your enemy.  Can you truly embrace that? Or if you had the chance to talk with Jesus at the creation of the world, would you have asked him to make sure the mosquitos didn’t get on the ark and to omit this stuff about loving your enemies?

And this pick up your cross and die to yourself stuff is something of a hard sell.   Maybe I can comply somewhat, but can I really get into that sort of thing?  Can I?  Can I really go all in on this stuff?

I wrote a message to put in the school supply bags as I do most every year.  I want to connect with people even after they have headed home.  I know some of these messages ended up in the classroom as some parents just send the bag to school without looking inside, but for those who read it, here is the hook:

Near the end of the Bob Seger song, Against the Wind, is the lyric I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind.  Yes, I know that this is really an oldie for some of you, but the lyrics ring true with many today.
Do you feel like you are running against the wind?

Did you know that the word used in the Bible for God’s Holy Spirit also means wind?  Jesus compared the Spirit of God to the wind.  If it feels like everything—or too many things—seem to be going against you, consider if it is because you have chosen to resist the ways of God.  Ask, am I running against the wind?  Am I trying everything the world’s way instead of God’s way?

You might think, Well, I pray.  That’s good.  It is necessary but not sufficient.  God desires us to have more than thoughts and words.  He calls us to give our entire lives in service to him.  That doesn’t mean that we are all preachers, but we are called to love and serve him and to love others.  He calls us to action. 

When we start doing things his way, we start seeing things his way, and we have a chance to embrace his way.  It’s sort of like the world says seeing is believing and we know that in our faith, believing is seeing

It’s something of a corollary to that.  We have a chance to love the ways of the Lord.  If we do what he says, we can see things his way.  We have a chance to love his ways!

Too often we don’t trust, don’t do what his law says, and don’t reap the blessing of peace.

When the world remains a chaotic conundrum of craziness, but you have set your sails to catch the wind—the Spirit of God, you move forward. You accept God’s ways.  You grow in grace to where you embrace his ways.
The world is not changed but we are.  We love the ways of the Lord and follow the leading of his Spirit and we have peace. 

Almost 40 years ago, I was a second lieutenant in what the Marine Corps calls the Basic School.  It is a three and one-half year school crammed into six months.  The drinking from a firehose metaphor does not do justice to this course of instruction.  It’s early to late in the classroom, in the field, in testing and inspection, and in every other thing that could be crammed into six months.

This was education, indoctrination, and tribulation.  Often the associated commensuration included the phrase, “Why in the world do we need to know this stuff?”

Some 8, 15, and even 20 years later, I would answer a question or solve a problem or just know what to do and someone would ask, “Where did you learn that?”

The answer was at the Basic School.  This was the school where generation after generation of newly commissioned officers would remove the letters A, I, and C from the school sign expressing some measure of contempt for the regimen.

For the next 20 years, I didn’t have to think about what to do.  I knew what to do.  I somehow agreed with what to do.  It came naturally.  I embraced what I had been forced to swallow as if they were bitter herbs.  Now there were surely new problems that required new solutions, but so much of what I knew to do came from those 6 excruciating months of my life.

I embraced what I had learned. The more I used it, the more I saw the wisdom of it, the more I reaped the benefits of what seemed to be a ton of useless information decades ago.

What would happen if we studied intently in the ways of the Lord?  What would happen if instead of saying, “That doesn’t make sense,” we presumed that because it came from God, it makes perfect sense?

What if we studied and applied God’s precepts every day?  What if we stopped complying with what God has to say and started embracing what he says?

What’s the difference between complying and embracing?  Peace is the difference.

Great peace have those who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.

We will still have trouble in the world.  That’s a given, but we will not stumble.  We will not choose the wrong path.  We will not long for the ways of the world.  We will not veer from the path. 

We will have peace and he will make our paths straight.  We will have peace and he will direct our paths.  I knew that Proverbs 3:5-6 would make its way into this psalm somehow.

Jesus said that he did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law.  The law has always been for our own good.  The fulfillment of the law in Christ Jesus gives us a chance to live in right standing with God and to live in his peace.

Too often we think of the law as 248 things we are required to do and 365 things that we must not do.   It’s like 248 hoops to jump through and 365 landmines that we might step on.  But what if it was a guide to good living? 

What if we embraced that God’s ways were and are for our own good?

In Christ, compliance with 613 directives gives way to embracing the law of love.  Do the words all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments sound familiar?  The law did not go away.  It is fulfilled in Christ.

The laws of our Lord are still a guide for good living.  We should embrace them.  But life and life eternal come through the one-time sacrifice made by Jesus. 

We love the laws of God not because our salvation hangs in the balance but because it doesn’t.  What hangs in the balance is our peace.

When we love the ways of the Lord—not just comply with his way but embrace it—we will know peace and God will keep us on the best path for our lives.  We will not stumble.

He gave us his Spirit to help us in this world.  The Counselor, the Comforter, the Advocate, and of course the Helper is within us.  God’s own Spirit is like the wind in our sails.  If we find that we are not moving forward in our lives or we seem to be trying to comply with God’s rules but don’t have any peace, it might be time to adjust our sails.

If we are just trying to follow rules and are not catching the wind that is God’s own Spirit, we are missing out on peace. We need to adjust our sails.  We need to catch the wind that is the Spirit and let God direct our paths.

Let us love the ways of our Lord and enjoy his peace and direction.

Let us love the ways of our Lord.